As part of the Environmental Science 103 curriculum, environmental activist Sue Mihalyi from the group Kandid Core visited the class Wednesday to speak on the health effects of Kodak’s pollution.
“Currently, Monroe County is fifth in the country for cancer causing chemical releases. From 1982 to today, 64 million pounds of carcinogens have been released into the air as a result of Kodak. With Kodak posing such a severe threat to the health of residents, it is necessary for a change in policy. Although it is not easy, you can make a difference,” she added.
“Anybody who acknowledges that we need a clean environment in order to live is an environmentalist,” Mihalyi said. “You are all environmentalists for that reason, but not all of you are environmental activists. As an environmental activist, I had to learn legal jargon, toxilogical effects of chemicals, ecological systems, who has jurisdiction in certain situations, et cetera.”
According to Mihalyi, Kodak’s release of toxic chemicals into the air may have been the cause of 33 or more cases of child brain cancer in Monroe County. Mihalyi described one instance in which a Monroe County child died of brain cancer. His mother contacted other people reporting similar cases and discovered they were all within a 5-mile radius of Kodak’s headquarters.
“It is a rare thing for children to develop this kind of cancer, so do what we can to prevent Kodak from polluting. Kodak has an incinerator that puts out 2378-TCCD, the most toxic of dioxins and dioxins are the gold standard for hazardous. It only takes a few molecules of this to impact a system,” she said.
“The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry took a look at the data, and statistically, it’s not a cluster – a group of similar health effects with a single cause – but they acknowledge the increase of female pancreatic cancer. The risk factor for women living near Kodak for over 20 years to get this cancer is in the high 90th percentile.”Mihalyi explained to the class that permits, reports and toxic release inventories are required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Permits are an agreement between the government and the corporation that yes, they do things that do pollute and it’s necessary for them to do these things to carry out their business,” she said.
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